By Mai Nguyen
SINGAPORE, June 12 (Reuters) - Copper prices traded in a tight range amid a lack of progress in the festering trade dispute between Washington and Beijing, while soft China data fuelled worries about global slowdown.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended the use of tariffs as part of his trade strategy and said he was holding up a trade deal with China until Beijing agrees to his points, while China vowed a tough response if the United States insists on escalating trade tensions.
"All of these trade talk uncertainties have put base metals or commodities space into hostage. If this overarching issue is not removed or diminished, there's no way for base metals to have any meaningful direction," said analyst Helen Lau at Argonaut Securities.
* COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.2% at $5,866.50 a tonne, as of 0814 GMT, while the most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was down 0.4% at 46,480 yuan ($6,723.47) a tonne.
* PRICES: London aluminium rose 0.3%, nickel fell 0.7%, zinc edged up 0.3%, while lead dipped 0.4% and tin fell 1.3%.
* CHINA AUTOMOBILES: Auto sales in China fell 16.4% in May from the same month a year earlier, the country's biggest auto industry association said on Wednesday, the 11th consecutive month of decline in the world's largest vehicle market.
* CHINA: China's factory gate inflation slowed amid sluggish commodity demand and faltering manufacturing activity, slowing from the previous month and fuelling worries growth in the world's second-largest economy is slipping.
* FREEPORT: The Indonesian unit of Freeport-McMoRan Inc is aiming to start construction of a copper smelter in mid-2020 and to start production late in 2023, with input capacity of 2 million tonnes of copper concentrate.
* MINERAL IMPORTS: The United States will team up with Canada and Australia to help countries around the world develop their reserves of minerals such as lithium, copper and cobalt, as part of a multi-pronged strategy to reduce global reliance on China.
* RARE EARTH SURVEY: China launched a survey of rare earth resources in seven regions on Monday, the China Securities Journal reported on Tuesday, amid speculation Beijing may curb exports of the materials to the United States.
* CHILE: Chilean Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica said on Tuesday the government of the South American mining powerhouse would favour neither private nor state investment as it seeks to ratchet up output of its world-leading reserves of lithium.
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Three month LME copper
Most active ShFE copper
Three month LME aluminium
Most active ShFE aluminium
Three month LME zinc
Most active ShFE zinc
Three month LME lead
Most active ShFE lead
Three month LME nickel
Most active ShFE nickel
Three month LME tin
Most active ShFE tin
ARBS ($1 = 6.9131 Chinese yuan)
Reporting by Mai Nguyen, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips